SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 91: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 91

16. The serious purpose of the paper-airplane flying contest, which attracted many novel and sometimes truly ------- entries, was to determine whether any ------- aerodynamic designs could be discovered.

A. unorthodox . . conventional
B. bizarre . . revolutionary
C. derivative . . imaginative
D. mundane . . predictable
E. ungainly . . aesthetic

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Bizarre" means oddly eccentric, and "revolutionary" means marked by radical change. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The serious purpose of the paper-airplane flying contest, which attracted many novel and sometimes truly bizarre entries, was to determine whether any revolutionary aerodynamic designs could be discovered." The structure of the sentence indicates that the correct response is the only pairing where the first missing term parallels the word "novel," or new, and makes sense in the first part of the sentence without contradicting the meaning of the second missing word. Since it is logical that the organizers of the contest hoped to discover a revolutionary design from among the entries that were so new that they seemed bizarre, choice (B) makes sense.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Unorthodox" means extraordinary, and "conventional" means ordinary. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The serious purpose of the paper-airplane flying contest, which attracted many novel and sometimes truly unorthodox entries, was to determine whether any conventional aerodynamic designs could be discovered." The terms "unorthodox" and "conventional" have opposite meanings. Therefore, the organizers could not have expected to find a conventional, or traditional, design by choosing from among novel and unconventional entries.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Derivative" means unoriginal, and "imaginative" means creative. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The serious purpose of the paper-airplane flying contest, which attracted many novel and sometimes truly derivative entries, was to determine whether any imaginative aerodynamic designs could be discovered." If the entries were based on already established designs, the contest would not have been likely to yield many imaginative or original designs, so choice (C) does not make sense.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Mundane" means ordinary, and "predictable" means easily foreseen, or routine. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The serious purpose of the paper-airplane flying contest, which attracted many novel and sometimes truly mundane entries, was to determine whether any predictable aerodynamic designs could be discovered." It would not make sense for the organizers of the contest to try to discover predictable designs, since the point of discovery is to find something new; ordinary, entries are unlikely to be novel. For these reasons, choice (D) does not make sense.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Ungainly" means graceless and unwieldly, and "aesthetic" means tastefully attractive. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The serious purpose of the paper-airplane flying contest, which attracted many novel and sometimes truly ungainly entries, was to determine whether any aesthetic aerodynamic designs could be discovered." The terms "ungainly" and "aesthetic" have opposite meaning, therefore a contest that attracted graceless entries would not be likely to yield tastefully attractive designs.

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